Don’t React To Outside Conditions
“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” — Vicki Corona
Life can pass by and we can neglect to appreciate the pockets of time interwoven into meaningful moments. We must try to experience reality as it is, rather than comprehend it at the level of the mind. Life’s captivating mysteries can flash by in an instant if we dwell on the past too long, or expect the future to arrive as we hope for. To create meaningful moments is to stay present and grounded while letting go of mental distractions. For that is the capricious monkey mind seeking to assert its will so we can hear it. Meaningful moments exist in everyday life, yet when reality does not conform to our mental image, suffering ensues.
The answer lies in letting go of diversions and disempowering thoughts which prevent us from connecting to the present. To be mindful of our thoughts, instead of stuck in a subconscious state, is a good reason to avoid reacting to life’s events. For instance, mindfulness requires us to be present and inhabit our body with intention and receptivity. We let go of expecting life to unfold a certain way and accept what shows up to embrace it with curiosity. If we are irritated by life’s events and react to it, we reinforce our suffering. For example, do you want to be right or do you want to be happy? Your answer will reflect how you pursue that which really matters to you. A person who wants to be right will go to great lengths to prove their point. In contrast, a person who prefers to be happy will concede that inner peace is more important than justifying their point. This doesn’t mean they are a doormat or give up. They know which battles are worth fighting and which battles to concede for the sake of inner peace.
In the film Anna and The King, Prince Chulalongkorn, played by actor Keith Chin, declares to Anna Leonowens, played by Jodie Foster: “It is always surprising how small a part of life is taken up by meaningful moments. Most often they’re over before they start, even though they cast a light on the future and make the person who originated them unforgettable.” Therefore, to recognise meaningful moments, stop rushing to the next event and consider what is taking place before you. Our thoughts will convince us there’s something wrong with the present moment and we need to fix it to feel better. There are no problems in this moment, except our perception of it. It was Viktor Frankl, the Austrian psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor, who said: “When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.”
Learn To Follow Your Inner Compass
“Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.” — Kahlil Gibran
To create meaningful moments, we must connect with others on a deeper level. In today’s technologically advanced society, a growing number of people hide behind screens to reach out to others. Whilst it has allowed us to stay connected, many of these connections are insincere relationships devoid of human contact. In other words, do you want to go through life collecting human thumbnails (friends and followers), to display on your smartphone, or form deeper meaningful connections? Relationships create an opportunity for meaningful moments because they enrich our life. Regretfully, many people perceive them with disillusionment, because they give their attention to the negative aspects. There is balance in every relationship, which means there’s equal harmony and disharmony. To focus on disharmony alone distorts our view of the intricate connection between people.
You see, life can be notorious for pulling us in different directions and so we become distracted and lose our way. Yet, if we stay focused on what’s essential, we place an esteemed value on those areas. My mentor and acclaimed spiritual author Dennis Merritt Jones reminds us we must live an authentic life to experience meaningful moments: “Living an authentic life is probably the most challenging thing a human being can endeavour to undertake because it is not the way of the world, but it is the way of the heart that connects you to what is real, what is meaningful, and what is eternal.” The courage to live life on our terms can be profoundly meaningful when we follow our inner compass, instead of abiding by other people’s terms.
I must say: we alone ascribe meaning to the events of our life. Some attach deeper meaning, while others see no causal relationship to that which transpires. For instance, I’ve often felt profound meaningful moments immersed in nature and a deep connection to life. I get out of my head and allow life to flow through me. Meaningful moments are interspersed throughout life, not in the acquisition of material possessions. So, make it a priority to lean towards experiences which enrich your life, such as travelling to unknown places. Embark on these journeys with loved ones to reinforce your connection to life and those around you.
Equally, being of service to others fosters meaningful moments. In donating our time and self, we enhance our life through altruistic deeds. This means adopting the right mindset to become attuned to such moments, instead of dismissing them as unimportant. Or else, we miss out on wonderful experiences obscured as otherwise ordinary moments. So, I invite you to come up with ways in which you can create more meaningful moments throughout your week. Does it involve meeting with friends in person more often? Donating your time to charity? Doing activities you love that involve play or recreation? Whatever it is, carve out time to be more involved in experiences that nourish your soul. After all, meaningful moments are a fabric of everyday life, masquerading as familiar events, so don’t let them pass you by.